Temecula Valley Unified’s Governing Board received an update at its June 30 board meeting on district officials’ plans for reopening schools in the fall, including on safety protocols that are being developed for each of the plans that are being developed as options for parents.
Deputy Superintendent Jodi McClay said district staff are continuing how to evaluate three potential options for parents, which she had previously presented to the board at its June 9 meeting: a traditional, in-person model; an online-only model; and a hybrid that is in between the previous two options.
She told board members at the virtual meeting that the district is also exploring a “Plan B” that includes only a “cohort” model and an online-only model in the event that developments with the pandemic render an in-person model untenable. The cohort model, she said, would involve groups of students attending classes two days per week and learning from home the other three, with plans to ensure students from the same families are in classrooms on the same days.
For students and staff who will potentially be in a traditional or hybrid environment, McClay said the district will mandate face masks, as it is subject to an executive order issued by the governor. The district will also provide sanitation stations in each classroom, and set up secondary health offices on every campus.
“If you have a child who gets hurt at school, or perhaps takes daily medication at school, we wouldn’t want that child coming into the same health office where we might have a student sitting there exhibiting a COVID-19 symptom,” McClay explained.
She said staff are still evaluating how to conduct health and temperature checks. The district, she said, plans to provide all masks and protective gear that will be required for students and staff.
“The state and the district do intend to provide quite a bit,” McClay said. “We know we are getting masks for students, we are getting face shields masks and gloves for teachers and we are getting masks, the N-95s for all health staff.”
And even that is not an exhaustive list, she said.
“We will continue to explore more on the personal protective equipment, but we do want everyone to feel that they are equipped and they are safe,” McClay said.
For the traditional, in-classroom learning plan, McClay said that plan involves a return to full class sizes — meaning it would be impossible to meet social distancing standards. Some precautions are being planned for, though, such as staggered lunches and passing periods.
In the hybrid model, McClay said the framework the district is working with still would operate on full class sizes at the secondary (grades 6-12) level, but would allow for half class sizes at the elementary level.
“We will be able to social distance at the elementary level with this model,” McClay said. “They will still make efforts at the secondary level but it cannot be guaranteed.”
McClay also explained that the online-only learning model would look very different from the distance learning students experienced at the tail-end of the 2019-20 school year, when the district scrambled to come up with a plan to continue educating students while campuses closed.
“Distance learning was just finishing out the year and trying to keep heads above water, whereas the online learning program — as a parent, you really need to envision that your child will be working all day,” McClay said.
In that model, she said, students will have three different types of learning: synchronous sessions in which a teacher will be speaking to students live, asynchronous sessions where a student may have more flexibility — watching videos, for instance — as well as independent practice, where a student can complete a task on his or her own time.
“Everything will be graded, attendance will be mandated,” McClay said of the online learning model. “There will be an online learning system that they use, it will allow them to communicate with their teachers far more than they did in the spring.”
McClay’s presentation was informational-only, and the governing board took no action on the plans she presented at the June 9 meeting.
Will Fritz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.